Home > Nourishing skin - Fruits and vegetables for healthy skin
The Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, recommends including half of our food plate with fruits and vegetables to get nutrients vital for the health and maintenance of our body. Following the guidelines will nourish us fully. Women are advised to include 2½ cups of vegetables and 2 cups of fruits in their daily diet. Men are advised to incorporate 3 cups of vegetables and 2 cups of fruits in their daily diet. This requirement pertains to 19-30 age group. In elders (50+) half a cup may be reduced from the requirement of 19-30 age group.
What do fruits and vegetables contribute for nourishing skin?Vegetables and fruits are naturally low in fat and calories and none have cholesterol. However they are rich in essential nutrients required for nourishing skin. They are actually good sources of less consumed nutrients like potassium, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B complex, dietary fiber and many other trace minerals.
Fruits and vegetables are rich in dietary fiber required for the digestive system. Dietary fiber also reduces blood cholesterol, increases the bowl movement and reduces obesity. The dietary fiber content in vegetables and fruits helps in increasing the flow of amylase enzymes, enhancing the digestive process. Lack of dietary fibers leads to constipation. Incomplete bowel evacuation produces toxins and causing flare-up of pimples and acne on the facial skin. Obesity leads to fat deposits under the dermis layer and causes stretch marks.
Potassium is present in banana, prune, peaches, apricots, cantaloupe, honeydew melon, and orange. It is also present in sweet potatoes, white potatoes, white beans, tomato, beet greens, soybeans, lima beans, spinach, lentils and kidney beans. Potassium helps to maintain healthy blood pressure and proper blood supply required for nourishing skin.
Vitamin C present in citrus fruits nourishes body cells and helps in increasing the blood flow to skin. Vitamin C also helps in collagen synthesis which is required for skin growth, repair and elasticity. It is also important for protection from chronic skin diseases and in healing of cuts and wounds. Vitamin C also helps in iron absorption essential for red blood cell production and function. Oranges, grapefruit, lemons and limes contain high levels of nourishing vitamin C.
Vitamin A is essential for the eye function as well as nourishing skin. It is also a potent antioxidant protecting our skin from free radicals which can cause premature aging. It is also helpful in the control of acne.
Like vitamin A and vitamin C, vitamin E is also nourishing and is a potent antioxidant helping in the protection of cells from the oxidative damages caused by free radicals.
Vitamin B complex, consisting eight vitamins is essential for cell division and cell proliferation. They also help in the maintenance of blood circulation and delivery of nutrients for the skin. Their deficiency can lead to dry and cracked skin, eczema, pimples, skin discoloration and wrinkles.
Trace mineral like zinc are very essential for nourishing skin. Its deficit leads to hair-loss and acne. It is also helpful in the healing of skin and reduction of scars.
Phytonutrients, polyphenols and antioxidants for protecting and nourishing skinMost the colorful fruits and vegetables have phytonutrients in them of which polyphenols have antioxidant properties. They are found in a wide array of fruits and vegetables.
For example, most legumes; fruits such as apples, blackberries, blueberries, cantaloupe, pomegranate, cherries, cranberries, grapes, pears, plums, raspberries, aronia berries, and strawberries; and vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, carrot, beet, celery, onion and parsley are rich in polyphenols. Many of these also contain antioxidant vitamins C and E.
Skin is continuously exposed to metabolic toxins from within and also exposed to exogenous sources of oxidative stress. Ultraviolet radiation from the sun is responsible for the extrinsic type of aging, sometimes termed photo-aging. The effects are thinning of the dermis, loss of moisture, loss of elasticity, appearance of wrinkles and dryness. These damages are due to free radials created by sun exposure as well as from metabolic processes. These free radicals damage cells and kill them. The antioxidants react with these free radicals by neutralizing them and protect us from cell damages.
What types of fruits and vegetables are to be consumed for nourishing skin?Colorful red, orange, blue, purple and yellow fruits like oranges, kiwi, tangerines, strawberries, mangoes, apricots, plums, Blueberries, blackberries and red grapes and vegetables like tomatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes, winter squash, beets, purple cabbage, yellow and orange bell peppers have considerable amounts of nourishing alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, lycopene, zeaxanthin and lutein. Beta-carotene and lycopene are potent antioxidants protecting our skin from the damaging UV rays of the sun. Many of these also contain nourishing vitamin C.
Dark green and cruciferous vegetables contain Vitamin C, folate and zinc essential for nourishing our skin and also for protecting it from pimple flareups.
Fruits may be consumed as fresh, canned, frozen, or dried, and may be whole, cut-up, or pureed forms. Vegetables may be raw or cooked; fresh, frozen, canned, or dried/ dehydrated; and may be whole, cut-up, or mashed.
To sum up what we put inside our body for enhancing the glow and beauty of our skin is more important than what we apply on it. Food laden with sugars and fats overly taxes our digestive system as well as creates free radicals and toxins which cause blemishes, wrinkles and acne breakouts. On the other hand, fruits and vegetables are very essential components of food for protecting and nourishing our skin.
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Nourishing skin with fruits and vegetables.